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aii of Jame 


May 18, 1996 

as a program of 
The North Carolina Writers' Network 

- ^.^ ^ '?3:^^:;^^ ■" 

Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities 
Southern Pines, North Carolina 


Jwrih L/aroiina 

Jiall of jfarne 

Jwrilk Lyarolma <=l.iiemru jtailoi jfa 

Of wame 

James Boyd 

Charles W Chesnutt 

Jonathan Daniels 

Bemice Kelly Harris 

_e JVioses 
Randall Jarrell 
Gerald Johnson 

Guy Owen 
Thad Stem, Jn 


Marsha White Warren 

Copyright © 1996 by The North CaroUna Writers' Network 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 


This program was made possible 

with a generous grant from: 

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources 

The Literary Communify is grateful for generous support from: 

The Pilot 

The Friends of Weymouth 

Sandhills Community College 

North Carolina State University Humanities Extension 

The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill 

Secretary of Cultural Resources Betty Ray McCain 

David Brinkley 

Dr. William C. Friday 

and the additiorml support from: 

The Town of Southern Pines 

UNC-Chapel Hill Photographic Services 

The North Carolina Division of Archives and History 

The Division of Travel and Tourism 

N.C. Literary Hall of Fame Committee and Judges 

The North Carolina Poetry Society 

The Estate of Thomas Wolfe 

The Paul Green Foundation 

State Library of North Carolina 

Center for the Book 

Howard Lee and Russell Walker 

Evalynn Halsey 

The publisher gratefully acknowledges the use of the photographs and selections of 
work by these fifteen 1996 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame Inductees. The 
photographers, publishers, sources and dates are so noted on each author's pages. 

Cover and Dedication Page Art: Evalynn Halsey 

Book Design and Production: Katherine Kubel — Print to Fit 

Inductee Biography Copy: Deborah Brody 

Printer: Southern Printing 

Induction Ceremony 
May 18. 1996 

Schedule for the Day 



Tributes to Sam Ragan 
including a brief video by David Brinkley 




















Shelby Stephenson 
Dorothy S. Redford 
Roy Parker, Jr. 
Keats Sparrow 
John Ehle 
Emily Wilson 
Sally Buckner 
Jaki Shelton Green 
Fred Chappell 
Bynum Shaw 
Gerald Barrax 
Charles Blackburn 
James Clark 
Stephen Smith 
H. G. Jones 



James Boyd, Jr. 
Willis McLeod 
Elizabeth D. Squire 
Inglis Fletcher Baum 
Byrd Green Cornwell 
Alice Kelley Burrows 
Roberta Porter Hon 
Robert Anthony 
Mary Jarrell 
Jim Jenkins 
Dorothy Owen 
Dety Stem 
George Poland 
Frances Wellman 
John Idol 


Weymouth, Writers and Words 

It is a sturdy house, 92 years old now and still rising tall among glossy 
magnolias and tall pines which lean into the Carolina wind. Its elegance 
is understated, with none of the ostentation one might expect of a 
twenty-room house. Weymouth served the Boyd family well for seventy 
years; since 1979 its service has expanded beyond family to community, 
its mission marked by the good taste which distinguishes its architectural 

In 1904, James Boyd, a steel and railroad magnate, purchased 1200 
acres in Southern Pines and built a home. He christened this new estate 
"Weymouth," after a town he had visited in England. Set amidst a 
magnificent stand of virgin long-leaf pines, it served as a country manor 
where his grandson and namesake, James, often came as a boy to repair 
frail health and explore the imposing pine forest and surrounding 

Later young James went to Princeton and earned a master's degree at 
Cambridge. After serving as an ambulance driver during World War I, an 
experience which left his health even more fragile, he returned to 
Weymouth for recovery. In 1919, he and his new wife, the former 
Katharine Lamont, spent their honeymoon in the house, which by now 
James co-owned with his brother, Jackson. The following year, he and 
Katharine moved to Weymouth and began redesigning it. They moved 
part of the original house across Connecticut Avenue to become part o{ 
Jackson's new home, now known as the Campbell House. To the 
remaining structure, they added a second story and two wings, enlarging 
the Georgian- style house to 9000 square feet. 

Now 32 years old, James Boyd left the management of the family 
business to his brother while he pursued the dream which had begun 
when he was editor o{ his high school newspaper: to become a writer. 
Boyd's biographer, David Whisnant, observes that Boyd chose to live in 
Southern Pines because this site "seemed to offer the best conditions for 
beginning [a literary career] — reasonable physical comfort, freedom from 
distractions, and a mild climate. ..and an opportunity to affirm the 
tangible values of American life." One of the earliest visitors to the 
newly- enlarged home was British novelist and playwright John 
Galsworthy, who, after reading Boyd's stories, encouraged him to try a 
novel, then, on a trip to New York, urged publishers to "keep an eye on 

James Boyd." In 1925, Scribner's published Boyd's first novel, Drums. It 
won immediate attention, not only for its story but for its realism — the 
result of Boyd's extensive and meticulous research. 

Boyd went on to write more novels, a number o{ short stories and a 
collection of poetry. In 1941, he expanded his career by purchasing and 
editing the Southern Pines Pilot. Meanwhile, his home became a 
welcome retreat for many of the best writers of the day: Thomas Wolfe, F. 
Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John R 
Marquand, and Paul Green, as well as his editor, the legendary Maxwell 
Perkins, and his illustrator, N.C. Wyeth. His daughter, Nancy Sokoloff, 
recalls that "During my father's lifetime there were no 'writers' colonies'. 
Our living room and that o{ Paul and Elizabeth Green served as settings 
for serious work, and conversations about Southern writing and its 
future." The serious conversations went beyond literature. During World 
War II, Boyd organized and served as the national chairman of the Free 
Company of Players, a group of writers who were concerned that 
constitutional rights might be compromised during the frenzy of wartime. 
Among the writers joining him in writing plays for broadcast over 
national radio were Orson Welles, Paul Green, Archibald MacLeish, and 
Stephen Vincent Benet. 

In 1944, after James Boyd's untimely death, Katharine continued 
living at Weymouth and publishing the Pilot. She and her sons, James, Jr. 
and Dan, and daughter, Nancy, donated 400 pine-filled acres to the state 
for development into Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. 
When she died in 1974, she and the children left the house, remaining 
land and forest to Sandhills Community College, which in 1977 put the 
estate on the market. Fearful that this treasure would be demolished by 
developers, two friends o{ the Boyds undertook the task of saving it. 
Elizabeth Stevenson (Buffie) Ives organized Friends of Weymouth, Inc.; 
Sam Ragan, now editor of the Pilot, rallied support from the state of 
North Carolina, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the North 
Carolina Writers Conference and the North Carolina Poetry Society. 
The first person Ragan approached, playwright Paul Green, made the 
first donation: $1000. Later Moore County resident Bob Drummond 
provided a major boost with an initial contribution of $20,000 and a 
later donation of an equal amount. 

Since 1979, the house surrounded by twenty- two acres, has 
flourished as a full-fledged cultural center. College groups, the North 
Carolina Poetry Society and the North Carolina Writers' Network hold 
annual retreats here. The great room and back lawn host concerts by 

chamber music groups and such notables as Doc Watson, and lectures by 
speakers as varied as social critic Tom Wolfe and sociologist John Shelton 
Reed. There have also been frequent readings by North Carolina's 
highly-acclaimed writers as well as an annual poetry festival the last 
Saturday in June and the Network's Writers & Readers Series the last 
Sunday in February. 

In addition to formal programs, Weymouth has hosted one of North 
Carolina Poet Laureate Sam Ragan's favorite projects: residencies 
offering writers, artists and composers stays of up to two weeks to pursue 
their art in James and Katharine Boyd's hospitable home. Poet and 
novelist Guy Owen was the first writer-in-residence; in 1981 he also 
made his last public reading at Weymouth. By 1995 over 500 writers and 
artists had held residencies here. Many testify that their art has 
flourished on this site; some even credit the hovering spirit of James 
Boyd and perhaps those of his many literary guests with providing 
additional creative impetus. 

It is fitting that Weymouth, where James Boyd and hundreds of other 
writers have found congenial conditions for their work, is the site of the 
North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. It is also fitting that the space set 
aside for this distinction is the upstairs Boyd Room, where James did his 
own writing, often by dictating to a stenographer as he paced back and 
forth taking on the voices of his characters. Perhaps the spirits of those 
who are honored here will join the chorus of literary masters whose 
influence echoes through the halls and across the grounds of Weymouth. 

Sally Buckner 

Raleigh, North Carolina 


And doum the centuries that wait ahead there'll he some whisper of our name, some 
mention and devotion to the dream that brought us here. 

— The Lost Colony by Paul Green 

From its earliest days, North Carolina has been blessed with the 
"mention and devotion" of a great host o{ writers living and working in the 
state. A rich literary heritage is a legacy cherished by all North Carolinians. 

The North Carolina Literary Hall o{ Fame is established as a perpetual 
opportunity to remember, honor and celebrate that heritage. By marking 
the contribution of its literary giants of every generation, it will support 
and encourage the further flourishing of excellent literature in the state. 

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame was the dream of a 
generation o{ the state's most dedicated cultural leaders, mobilized by Sam 
Ragan, poet laureate of North Carolina. It was authorized by joint 
resolution of the General Assembly on July 23, 1993, then formally 
established by a grant from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources to 
the North Carolina Writers' Network, an eleven-year-old organization 
serving writers and readers across the state. 

The Hall of Fame is physically located in a notable shrine of North 
Carolina writing. The Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in 
Southern Pines is the former home and workplace of novelist James Boyd 
and his wife Katharine, a distinguished journalist and patron oi the arts. 
The large room where plaques, pictures, books and other memorabilia of 
the state's honored writers will be displayed was Boyd's workroom. 

Members of the Hall of Fame will be selected annually by a committee 
of writers. The goal is to choose widely and inclusively from the great 
parade of novelists, poets, short story writers, playwrights, journalists and 
storytellers of all sorts who have called themselves North Carolinians. 
While the first year will honor only those from the past, the Hall of Fame 
eventually will also join other notable cultural award programs to honor 
living writers. 

Seventy-five years ago, an editor visiting North Carolina marveled at the 
literary liveliness of the place where, she said, writers flourished in "an 
atmosphere of plain living and high thinking that I never experienced before." 

In the spirit of those who over the centuries have graced North Carolina 
with a literature of such quality, beauty and power, the North Carolina 
Literary Hall of Fame proudly honors writers who have achieved enduring 
stature in their mention and devotion to their art and to the state. 

Roy Parker, Jr. 

Fayetteville, North Carolina 

Samuel Talmadge Ragan 

Sam Ragan, named North Carolina's Poet Laureate in 1982, was 
author of six poetry collections: The Tree in the Far Pasture, To the 
Voter's Edge, Journey into Morning, A Walk Into April, Collected 
Poems and Listening for the Wind. He served as managing and 
executive editor of the News & Observer for 20 years, and since 
1969 as publisher and editor of The Pilot in Southern Pines, which 
features the most complete literary coverage in the state. Ragan 
championed the literary arts and fought fervently against 
censorship in all its forms. He was North Carolina's first secretary 
of cultural resources, and received many honorary doctorate 
degrees and literary awards, including the 1979 North Carolina 
Award in Fine Arts. 

The Literary Community of North Carolina 
Dedicates This Day to Honor 

Our Beloved Friend and Mentor 

'am u^iaqan 

Poet Laureate oi North Carolina 


1888 ' 1944 

James Boyd was bom and raised in Pennsylvania, son of a wealthy coal 
and oil family with North Carolina roots. Following World War I, 
recurrent illness forced his retirement to Weymouth, a house his 
grandfather had built near Southern Pines. Boyd's first book, Drums, set 
in Edenton, North Carolina, has been called the best novel written about 
the American Revolution. His five historical novels influenced major 
developments in the genre, elevating it through greater historical 
accuracy, psychological and sociological awareness, and formal 
craftsmanship. In 1940, Boyd organized the Free Company of Players, a 
group of American writers that, despite the powerful opposition oi right- 
wing conservative interests, produced a series of original radio plays in 
response to what they saw as antidemocratic attitudes prevalent in 
America due to the growing war in Europe. In 1941, Boyd bought The 
Pilot, transforming it into a progressive regional paper which has been 
honored for excellence. James and Katharine Boyd brought to 
Weymouth many of the finest writers of their time, making it, in Jonathan 
Daniel's words, a "springboard for the southern literary renaissance." 
Visitors included Paul Green, Thomas Wolfe, Sherwood Anderson, 
William Faulkner, Struthers Burt, and John Galsworthy. 


Scribner's Sons, 1927 

Outside the rustle of the pines crept by in long, low waves which came 
from the Atlantic to the eastward and crossed the forests of the Province on 
tossing tops to die away against the mountains in the west. 

A fire blazed in the deep, clay-plastered fireplace; the logs of pine dripped 
turpentine in the wave of flame and sent up scrolls of clotted smoke to join 
the night. The steady, golden light flooded the brick hearth, newly scrubbed 
with white clay, flooded broad, hand-dressed floor boards beyond, then 
softening, touched a wall of shaggy logs and gilded the barrel of a flintlock 
above the closed oak door. Against the ceiling it threw the shadow of a man 
who sat before it, a man rough-hewn, brown and rugged, so still, so like the 
room, that he might have been built there when it was built. His short coat 
and his kilt were brown, his square beard was brown, only the twinkle of silver 
buttons and a touch of white stock at the throat showed him to be above the 
common rank. 

Through the deep murmur of the pines the sound of a whistled tune drew 
nearer, stopped at the door. The hinges creaked; a straight, thin boy, tugging a 
bucket of water, came in. With his skirted linen hunting shirt blown forward 
by the wind, his long brown hair blown around his bright- colored face, he 
looked almost like a girl, or would have looked so, except for the impish set of 
his mouth. He closed the door behind him with a thrust of his moccasin and 
swung the wooden bucket under a table in the corner. He gave a manly and 
professional puff and wiped his hands on the sides of his leather breeches. 

"There's the water, Dadder." 

"Aye, son, I heard ye. How's the wind?" 

"East. But I reckon it might fair. I saw a star." 

"If it storms the morrow I'm feared your mother willna come home." 

"She said she would." 

A half smile just touched the man's broad beard. 

"Aye, she did. But she was wearing the new camlet gown." 

The boy revolved this saying. He stared in the fire, knitted his brows. 

"Now, then lad." His father was looking at him. The boy started from his 
thoughts and turned to the table. He must get to work. Work! If it only were 
real work instead of lessons fit only for girls. He rubbed his small, hard, 
calloused hands together and threw out his chest. Study was no work for a 
man of the Pine Forests. But his father's eye remained on him. His chest 
subsided. Taking a horn speller book and a Latin grammar from a shelf, he 
stretched himself on his stomach before the fire and peered at the dim letters 
through the yellow glazed sheet. As he murmured them over to himself he 
heard his father fumble in his pocket for his pipe, strike his tinder-box, settle 
back in his chair with slow, measured puffs. 


1858 ' 1932 

Essayist, folklorist, and fiction writer, Charles Chesnutt was the first 
African-American to receive serious attention during his hfetime as a 
major Hterary artist, and was considered a pioneer in treating racial 
themes. A native Ohioan, he spent his childhood and early manhood in 
North Carolina, primarily in Fayetteville. That region is the setting and 
the source of his most important works. His best known book, The 
Conjure Woman ( 1 899) is a retelling of African-American slave folk tales 
from the Cape Fear area. His fiction addresses the problems confronting 
those of mixed race, and the hopeless situation of blacks in a white 
society. A contemporary called his stories "works of art," written by one 
who had "sounded a fresh note, boldly, not blatantly." While writing and 
publishing, he operated a successful business and worked for social 
justice. He received the Spingam Medal for "pioneer work as a literary 
artist depicting the life and struggles of Americans of Negro descent, and 
for his long and useful career as scholar, worker; and freeman." 

The House Behind the Cedars 

Houghton, Mifflin, 1900 

A two minutes' walk brought Warwick to the market-house, the central feature of 
Patesville, from both the commercial and the picturesque points of view. 

Standing foursquare in the heart of the town, at the intersection of the two main 
streets, a jog at each street comer left around the market-house a little pubhc square, 
which at this hour was well occupied by carts and wagons from the country and 
empty drays awaiting hire. Warwick was unable to perceive much change in the market- 
house. Perhaps the surface of the red brick, long unpainted, had scaled off a little more 
here and there. There might have been a slight accretion of the moss and lichen on the 
shingled roof But the tall tower, with its four faced clock, rose as majestically and 
uncompromisingly as though the land had never been subjugated. 

Was it so irreconcilable, Warwick wondered, as still to peal out the curfew bell, 
which at nine o'clock at night had clamorously warned negroes, slave or free, that it 
was unlawful for them to be abroad after that hour, under penalty of imprisonment or 
whipping.' Was the old constable, whose chief business it had been to ring the bell, 
still alive and exercising the functions of his office, and had age lessened or increased 
the number of times that obliging citizens performed this duty for him during his 
temporary absences in the company of convivial spirits.' 

A few moments later, Warwick saw a colored policeman in the old constable's 
place — a stronger reminder than even the burned buildings that war had left its mark 
upon the old town, with which Time had dealt so tenderly. 

The lower story of the market-house was open on all four of its sides to the public 
square. Warwick passed through one of the wide brick arches and traversed the 
building with a leisurely step. He looked in vain into the stalls for the butcher who had 
sold fresh meat twice a week, on market days, and he felt a genuine thrill of pleasure 
when he recognized the red bandana turban of old Aunt Lyddy, the ancient negro 
woman who had sold him gingerbread and fried fish, and told him weird tales of 
witchcraft and conjuration, in the old days when, as an idle boy, he had loafed about the 
market-house. He did not speak to her, however, or give her any sign of recognition. 

Leaving the market-house, Warwick turned to the left, and kept on his course 
until he reached the next corner. After another turn to the right, a dozen paces 
brought him in front of a small weather-beaten frame building, from which projected 
a wooden sign-board bearing the inscription: ARCHIBALD STRAIGHT LAWYER. 

He turned the knob, but the door was locked. Retracing his steps past a vacant lot, 
the young man entered a shop where a colored man was employed in varnishing a coffin, 
which stood on two trestles in the middle of the floor Not at all impressed by the 
melancholy suggestiveness of his task, he was whistling a lively air with great gusto. 

Upon Warwick's entrance this effusion came to a sudden end, and the coffin- 
maker assumed an air of professional gravity. 

"Good-mawnin, sub," he said, lifting his cap politely. 

"Good-morning," answered Warwick, "Can you tell me anything about Judge 
Straight's office hours.'" 

"De ole jedge has be'n a little onreg'lar sence de wah." 


1902 ■■ 1981 

The son of Raleigh News and Observer owner/editor Josephus Daniels 
and grandson of a North Carolina Governor, Jonathan Worth Daniels 
was a distinguished writer and editor in his own right. His 1930 novel 
Clash of Angels won him a Guggenheim Fellowship. Daniels spent the 
war years, 1942-1945, in Washington D.C., working for the 
administration on various projects, and served briefly as President 
Roosevelt's, then President Truman's press secretary. During his years as 
editor of the News and Observer, Daniels followed a liberal editorial 
policy, advocating for civil rights, school desegregation, and support of 
organized labor. Over his lifetime he published dozens of books and 
articles: biographies; historical studies, including three for children; and 
social and political commentaries. His devotion to public service 
included six years representing the United States on the United Nations 
Subcommission for the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection 
of Minorities. The Charlotte Observer called Daniels "a graceful writer 
and tart social critic . . . also a force for progress in North Carolina," 
especially in race relations. 

Tar Heels: A Portrait of North Carolina 

Dobb, Mead, 1941 

Barbecue and fish muddle put the eating customs and the 
drinking customs of the people together. Both are dishes which 
have no direct relationship to drinking. Both go with coleslaw 
and corn pone. Barbecue, which in North Carolina contends 
with the hamburger and the hot dog at the roadside eating 
stands, is pig roasted, preferably over a pit full of coals, and 
basted with a peppery sauce while it roasts. Fish muddle is the 
name for a fish stew, the ingredients of which vary with what you 
have got. Brunswick stew is a thick vegetable stew, which in the 
old days used to depend upon squirrels for protein content. Both 
the meat and the vegetable content may be altered without 
departing from the name. All of these are the dishes of 
congregation, of the political rally, the country get-together, the 
bit entertainment of customers and friends. Each dish may be 
served on the table at home. Each of them may be, along with 
fried chicken, pies and cakes and boiled eggs, at the church 
supper. But the barbecues and the fish muddles (both are the 
names for the gatherings as well as the dishes), in the eastern part 
of the State, where they are most often held, are occasions for 
both eating and drinking — and sometimes a little too much of 
both. But when men gather at the plank tables under the big 
trees near the smell of pigs roasting in the pits, North Carolina is 
probably present in the truest and most native fashion ever to be 
found in the State. Barbecue is a dish which binds together the 
taste of both the people of the big houses and the poorest 
occupants of the back end of the broken-down barn. 


1879 - 1969 

The descendant of a man from North Carolina's Tyrell County, IngUs 
Fletcher had published two successful novels when a casual genealogical 
search piqued her interest in North Carolina's early years. She spent six 
years researching, writing, and editing Raleigh's Eden, an historical novel 
about Revolution- era Albemarle plantation families. She wrote a total of 
twelve novels known as the Carolina Series, which cover the State's 
history from 1585 to 1789. A firm believer in extensive research, she 
would not begin to write until she was steeped in details of her chosen 
period. Her fierce attention to historical accuracy, and successful blend 
of actual events and personages with intricate ficitonal plots, wild 
adventures and love stories distinguished her books from others in the 
genre. The books have been translated into seven languages, and have 
sold millions of copies. Their author attempted to demonstrate man's 
freedom, symbolized by the ownership and love of the land he cares for, 
fights for and passes on to his children. Fletcher hoped that the history 
she retold would give meaning to the problems of the present. 

Lusty Wind for Carolina 

The Bobbs Merrill Company, 1944 

The journey from New Providence to the Cape Fear was a matter of weeks. 
Becalmed for days, followed by contrary winds, they made slow progress up the 
Florida coast, keeping well out to avoid Spanish ships of war. 

Between Charles Town, on the Ashley, and the shoals that marked the 
tortuous entrance to Cape Fear River, they ran into the fringe of a hurricane, 
which blew them back almost to the Charles Town harbour. 

Then one morning at sunrise. Mister Bragg manoeuvred the Delicia over 
Frying Pan Shoals into the channel. 

The faint light of soft dawn lined the eastern horizon when Gabrielle awoke 
on that long-dreamed-of morning as the Delicia entered the river and found safe 
harbour behind the shoals and the protecting Banks. She got up quietly from 
the little cot behind the screen in her mother's cabin, where she had slept since 
the ship sailed from Nassau. She dressed hurriedly in the dark, moving softly so 
that she would not disturb her mother. Even though she did not waken, she 
would be restless and talk in her sleep of her old home in France. Celestme, 
sleeping on the floor on a pallet at the side of Madam Fountaine's berth, snored 
intermittently, her mouth half open in her full moon-face. 

Gabrielle closed the cabin door and made her way up the companionway to 
the deck. She was eager to have her first glimpse of the river and the land at 
sunrise. She wanted to see the sun bring the river banks out of the deep 
shadows and flood the river with daylight. There was a portent in seeing a new 
land at sunrise. 

Early as it was, there were others before her — dark shadows at the rail, 
facing shoreward, trying to pierce the gloom, waiting for the massed shadows to 
dissolve under the first light of the new day. A crimson glow through the dark 
sky marked the horizon. In a moment the sun would rise and she would see 
what her inner eye had long envisaged; the new world of the Carolinas. The 
sound of myriad song birds came from the near-by shore. But there was no 
vibrant cock's crow to mark a civilized world, only the song of the forest and 
wild places. 

The muffled sound of voices and the creaking of the anchor chain sounded 
far away. She peered down the deck, only to find her vision blunted by a grey 
mist. She realized then that a low-flying fog shrouded the river and the shore. 
She felt a vague unrest, the weight of disappointment. She had always had the 
vision of a sun-drenched shore line, pointing the way to the forest. Fog belonged 
to the old world of sorrow. She must have spoken aloud in her disappointment, 
for a figure detached itself from the shadows and stepped to her side. From the 
height and carriage she recognized Roger Mainwairing. 



Paul Green grew up on a cotton farm in rural Harnett County, North 
Carolina, learning the value of hard work as well as the importance and 
beauty of literature and music. He taught school to earn money for 
college, but World War I interrupted his education. Returning to Chapel 
Hill, he became active in the Carolina Playmakers, writing one of their 
first plays. His first Broadway play. In Abraham's Bosom, won a Pulitzer 
Prize, and was followed by numerous short and full length plays, 
screenplays, short story collections, and books of nonfiction. A lifelong 
fascination with theatrical elements such as dance, language, music, and 
lighting, combined with a desire for the drama to make a difference in 
American social life led to his development of the Symphonic Outdoor 
Drama. His first, The Lost Colony, has been staged in Manteo every year 
since 1937, except during World War II. More than fifty of these 
historically-based plays including five o{ Green's seventeen are staged 
annually across the United States. Through his life and writing, he acted 
and spoke in support of the basic rights of all humanity. Paul Green was 
"haunted by the ideal of perfection" and believed "in the uniqueness of 
man as responsible to his neighbor and to God." 

The Lost Colony 

UNC Press, 1937 

ACT 1, Scene 1 — HISTORIAN: (His amplified voice filling the theatre): In the time 
of Queen Elizabeth many English men and women, notably among them Sir Walter 
Raleigh, continued in their dream of founding an English-speaking nation in the 
new world. In pursuance of that brave intent two explorers, Phillip Amadas and 
Arthur Barlowe, were sent out in April 1584, to discover a fitting place for a ftrst 
settlement. Such a place they found on and around Roanoke Island, which they 
reached in July of the same year and found to be "the goodliest land under the cope 
of heaven." It was the time of the com harvest when they arrived, and the friendly 
Indians were celebrating and giving thanks unto their God. 

By 1587 the lime draws near for a ciihmy of English men and wumen to travel to the new world. John 
Borden speaks in response to a wamin)^ hv the sea captain that such a voyage would be very dangerous. 

ACT I, Scene 5 — BORDEN: Friends, I am nothing but a poor farmer I have no 
authority except my own voice. And that I'll use for Mistress Dare and Sir 
Walter We have set our faces toward that new world, toward a new life for us 
all. And are we to be stopped here dulled and dead in our tracks by an old 
woman's tale of danger and hardship.' Then go home, go home now, and the 
ships waiting out there — may rot where they lie. Danger and hardship! Aye, the 
better for it. So we may test the manhood in us, if we be men, if we be women 
worth the name. Who is this Simon Fernando that you should listen to 
him?. ..Like his master Philip he fears a colony in Virginia. He wishes us to fail. 
But there will be no tailing, not if the sea and the wilderness and all Spain 
herself conspire against us.... 

VOICES; Speak, lad! Brave John Borden, We'll stand with ye, John! 

BORDEN: We have made the cast. We turn our backs upon this little England — to 
go forth to struggle, to work, to conquer that unknown wilderness — to build a 
nation there — our nation. And with God's help we'll build it. 

RALEIGH: Friends, pioneers of a new nation soon to be, I come to you at this 
parting moment in all humility and pride — humility that to English men and 
women is granted the privilege of this high endeavor, and pride that you my old 
neighbors of Devon are to share in it. ...And now to the authority of Governor 
White and his associate. Master Ananias Dare, I beg your obedience. Would 
God that I might sail with them and you, but I am reserved once more foi the 
wars at home. My heart goes with you, my hopes and my dreams. God bless you. 
(He moves among them embracing them and shaking hands.) 

Raleigh remains alone in the scene as the crowd marches away at the right. He draws his sword, salutes 
them with it, and then kneels down with the cross of the sword hilt in front of him — as the lights fade out. 

ACT II, Scene 1 — HISTORIAN: After a long and stormy voyage the colony 
arrived at Roanoke Island on July 23, 1587. 

Ed. Note: The Queen will never allow Sir Walter Raleigh to travel to the h^ew World. 


1891 ' 1973 

Bemice Kelly Harris was the third of seven children bom to an eastern 
Wake County farm family. She taught high school English until her 
marriage to Seaboard farmer Herbert Kavanaugh Harris, when she began 
teaching playwriting classes in her living room and taking part in 
community dramatics. In the 1930s she contributed character sketches 
and human interest stories to the Norfolk and Raleigh newspapers, 
catching the eye of editor Jonathan Daniels, who suggested she write a 
novel. Purslane, her first attempt, is based on memories of her childhood 
home, extended family and church community. She wrote six more 
novels over the next decade, each of them loving, occasionally satiric, 
evocations of human behavior with all its strengths and weaknesses. 
Late in her life, she began teaching non-credit creative writing classes at 
Chowan College, as much for the pleasure of meeting imaginative people 
as for anything else. She once said, "People, not books, have always been 
my first interest in life." 


UNC Press, 1939 

Calvin and Nannie Lou gathered the ripe persimmons and 
locusts, packed them in the molasses barrel with a few sweet 
potatoes, covered the mixture with water and broom straw, 
and waited. Later they would heat some rocks to drop into 
the barrel, and by Christmas the beer would be ready to draw. 
There was still enough in the other barrel for the 

By Friday the com was arranged in huge mounds, with 
chairs placed around the heaps for the shuckers. The men 
gathered early in the afternoon around the plump tan- 
sheathed ears of corn, joked lustily, wise-cracked a little 
naughtily, sang, yodeled, and shouted over the red ears. In the 
kitchen the women were preparing great platters of savory 
chicken slick, fresh backbone from one of the shoats John had 
butchered the day before, sweet potatoes, fruit pies, coUard 
greens seasoned with hog-jaw and red pepper, potato pudding, 
turnips. The girls frisked back and forth with huge pitchers of 
persimmon beer; Uncle Job asked them to bring him a glass of 
water. Then Cousin Nath pretended the beer had gone to his 
head and acted drunk, to the great merriment of the crowd, 
who knew that a whole barrel of their kind of beer would not 
intoxicate. The girls, lingering while the boys hunted for red 
ears, were finally called back to the kitchen to peel the syrupy 
batises,* to open stone jars of cucumber and pear pickle and 
grape and fig preserves. Letha stayed with the women and 
never showed herself at all before the men. 

When the table groaned to the right volume for the 
women, the men came in and were served, not too 
obtrusively, for some were ill at ease with the girls watching 
them eat. By lantern light the men finished the shucking and 
then came to the house to sit by the open fire and plan their 
next year's crops, while the women across the room raised 
biddies, planted gardens, and bragged a little on their 
children. In the kitchen the young folks pulled stewed sugar 
and molasses into ropes of taffy. Over a pan of stewed 
molasses Kate and Garland became conscious of each other. 
The syrup stuck to their fingers however heavily they were 
buttered, and Garland finally whispered to Kate that he was 
some kind of stuck on her 

A variety of sweet potato. 

1862 ' 1910 

William Sydney Porter was bom in Guilford County, and raised and 
educated by an aunt at her private school. He worked in an uncle's drug 
store, moving at nineteen to Texas to hold a variety o{ jobs including 
bank teller. He also wrote free-lance sketches, and briefly edited and co- 
owned a humorous weekly, The Rolling Stone. While working as a 
columnist, Porter was indicted for embezzling bank funds. He spent 
three years in the Ohio Penitentiary, publishing his first short story from 
prison under a pen name. Upon his early release he continued writing as 
O. Henry. Porter moved to New York City in 1902 and on the 
publication of his second book was declared the discoverer of romance in 
that city's streets. Until the year after his death, two collections of his 
stories were published annually, many of them appearing first in the New 
York Sunday World. The stories relate commonplace events in the lives of 
ordinary people and arrive at surprise endings through coincidence. His 
favorite themes were the situation of the imposter and the unavoidablility 
of fate. His stories remain popular to this day largely because of their 
author's unmistakable affection for the foibles of human nature. 

The Gift of the Magi 

from The Four Million 
McClure, Phillips & Company, 1906 

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in 
which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had 
been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Delia's hair. Had the 
Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Delia would have let her 
hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's 
jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasure 
piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled at his watch every time he 
passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy. 

So now Delia's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a 
cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a 
garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once 
she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the 
wool red carpet. 

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl 
of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the 
door and down the stairs to the street. 

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mme. Sotronie. Hair Goods of All 
Kinds." One flight up Delia ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, 
large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie." 

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Delia. 

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have sight at the 
looks of it. 

Down rippled the brown cascade. 

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand. 

"Give it to me quick," said Delia. 

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed 
metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present. 

Introductory note by the author to The Four Million in which this story appears. 
Not very long ago some one invented the assertion that there were only 
"Four Hundred" people in New York City who were really worth noticing. 
But a wiser man has arisen — the census taker — and his larger estimate of 
human interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these little 
stories of the "Four Million." 

cilc.tcJw\e. J>ovw« i« CL sttJixr 


circa 1797 - 1883 

George Moses Horton could be called North Carolina's first professional 
poet. Bom the property of Chatham County yeoman farmer William 
Horton, young George Moses taught himself to read, although he was 
grown before he learned to write. Fascinated with poetry, he composed 
verses in his head. During trips to Chapel Hill to sell his master's 
produce, he caught the attention of university students. For several 
decades he sold them poems for their sweethearts, charging extra for 
acrostics based on the young ladies' names, earning enough to purchase 
his own time from the Hortons. He gained widespread admiration and 
support, including that of novelist Caroline Lee Hentz, who arranged for 
the publication of a collection. The Hope of Liberty. The book, the first 
published in the South by a black man, did not sell enough copies for 
Horton to purchase his freedom, nor did two subsequent collections. 
Freed by the end of the Civil War, he moved to Philadelphia, spending his 
final years writing Sunday School stories and working for old North 
Carolina friends. Collier Cobb described him as "an author who 
supported himself and his family . . . before authorship had attained the 
dignity of a profession in America." 

George Moses Horton, Myself 

from Naked Genius 
William B. Smith Company, 1865 

I feel myself in need 

Of the inspiring strains of ancient lore, 
My heart to lift, my empty mind to feed, 

And all the world explore. 

I know that I am old 

And never can recover what is past, 
But for the future may some light unfold 

And soar from age's blast. 

I feel resolved to try. 

My wish to prove, my calling to pursue. 
Or mount up from the earth mto the sky, 

To show what Heaven can do. 

My genius from a boy. 

Has fluttered like bird within my heart; 
But could not thus confined her powers employ, 

Impatient to depart. 

She like a restless bird. 

Would spread her wing, her power to be unfurl'd. 
And let her songs be loudly heard. 

And dart from world to world. 

1914 ' 1965 

Randall Jarrell was bom in Nashville, Tennessee. He earned bachelor's and 
master's degrees from Vanderbilt where he studied under Robert Penn 
Warren, Allen Tate, and John Crowe Ransom, who gave him his first 
teaching job. At Kenyon College, he forged life -long friendships with Peter 
Taylor and Robert Lx)well. He served throughout World War II as a 
technical sergeant, teaching celestial navigation. In 1947 he returned south 
permanently to teach at UNC- Greensboro, then known as Woman's 
College, taking leaves of absence to teach and lecture, and to serve as 
Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Jarrell once said, "If I were 
a rich man, I'd pay money to teach." His fondness for dashing clothes, sports 
cars and tennis were well known; as were his enthusiasms for the fine arts, 
psychology, science fiction, childhood, and animals, all of which appear in 
his writing. Jarrell left behind many collections of poetry and criticism, 
anthologies, an academic novel, and several translations. Taylor said of him, 
"lb Randall's fiiends there was always the feeling that he was their teacher. 
To Randall's students there was always the feeling that he was their fiiend. 
And with good reason for both." 

The Woman at the Washington Zoo 

from The Woman at the Washington Zoo 
Atheneum, 1960 

The saris go by me at the embassies. 

Cloth from the moon. Cloth from another planet. 
They look back at the leopard like the leopard. 

And I. . . . 

this print of mine, that has kept its color 
Alive through so many cleanings; this dull null 
Navy I wear to work, and wear from work, and so 
To my bed, so to my grave, with no 
Complaints, no comment: neither from my chief. 
The Deputy Chief Assistant, nor his chief — 
Only I complain .... this serviceable 
Body that no sunlight dyes, no hand suffuses 
But, dome -shadowed, withering among columns. 
Wavy beneath fountains — small, far-off, shining 
In the eyes of animals, these beings trapped 
As I am trapped but not, themselves, the trap. 
Aging, but without knowledge of their age. 
Kept safe here, knowing not of death, for death — 
Oh, bars of my own body, open, open! 

The world goes by my cage and never sees me. 
And there come not to me, as come to these, 
The wild beasts, sparrows pecking the llamas' grain. 
Pigeons settling on the bears' bread, buzzards 
Tearing the meat the flies have clouded. . . . 

When you come for the white rat that the foxes left, 
Take off the red helmet of your head, the black 
Wings that have shadowed me, and step to me as man: 
The wild brother at whose feet the white wolves fawn, 
To whose hand of power the great lioness 
Stalks, purring. . . . 

You know what I was. 
You see what I am: change me, change me! 


1890 ' 1980 

Writer and journalist Gerald Johnson was bom in Riverton, North 
Carolina, and educated at Wake Forest College and the University o{ 
Toulouse, France. He started his newspaper career at age twenty, co- 
founding the Thomasville Davidsonian. In 1926, Johnson moved to 
Baltimore, and spent the next seventeen years working for the Baltimore 
Evening Sun and the Baltimore Sun. Despite personal and philosphical 
differences, he was a longtime friend of H.L Mencken, and was often 
called "Baltimore's second sage." His liberal, humanist philosophies 
ultimately caused him to part company with the Sunpapers, under the 
friendliest of terms. Thereafter, he devoted his energies to freelance 
writing, publishing dozens of books, including biographies, essays, 
commentaries on the American scene, some fiction, and two trilogies 
about American history and government written for his young grandson. 
Gerald Johnson always regarded himself as a journalist rather than an 
historian, stating that "the historian writes authoritatively, for posterity; 
the journalist writes speculatively, for today . . . they are, or should be, 
both servants of the truth." 

By Reason of Strength 

Minton, Balch & Company, 1930 

To the small boy, Cousin Matty's words were even as Holy Writ. Her factual 
life was gray and dim; but the life she touched through her contact with the 
youngsters was all purple and gold, for in the most commonplace experience, if 
it happened to another, she could descry Romance. 

Imaginatively, the gray little spinster was a swashbuckling adventurer. She 
could thrill the children. They loved her. 

It was a rainy afternoon when she talked of Grandmaa Whyte. Summer was 
definitely declining. Only three or four days remained before the opening of 
school, which was bad enough; but these three or four seemed likely to be 
ruined by September gales, which was worse. Water was standing in a pool on 
the tennis court. Fishing and swimming were out of the question in such a 
downpour, and the dogged determination with which the rain descended made 
it practically certain that there would be no hayride that night. Gusts slapped 
the rain in your face if you walked out, and the weeds and pea-vines were so 
thoroughly soaked that to seek for a later watermelon in the field, or for 
Delaware peaches or russet apples in the orchard, meant a drenching to the 

It was a sloppy day, not quite cold enough for a fire, yet lacking summer's 
generous warmth. On such a day. Cousin Matty was the one specific against the 
boredom which is worse than pain. 

She sat in a sheltered nook on the back porch, doing something with her 
hands — knitting, mending, shelling peas — how should a boy of fifteen know? 
What did it matter, anyway? Nothing Cousin Matty did ever mattered; only 
what she said counted. 

"Did you even really see Grandmaa Whyte, Cousin Matty," I asked. 

"Oh yes," said she. "When I was a young girl, she was a very old woman, but 
as spry as a cricket." 

Your grandma was two years older than I, and her mother used to call for 
Grandmaa Whyte whenever any of us got sick. You see, Grandmaa was really 
your grandma's grandmother, your great-great-grandmother, and there had been 
so much intermarrying that she was kin to pretty nigh everybody in Spring Hill 
township. And everybody, kin or not, sent for her when there was any trouble. 
She was a sort of doctor, and judge and preacher for the whole country. There 
never was such a woman! Hasn't any one ever told you about her?" 

"No," said I. It was false, of course, but Cousin Matty needed only one little 
push to be fairly launched; and on such an afternoon who would not have given 
it her? And she, as a matter of fact, had never told me about Grandmaa 
Whyte — she who could certainly tell it better than any one else. So I pushed 
her, and she was launched. 


1925 ' 1981 

Novelist, poet, editor; critic, and teacher, Guy Owen grew up on a 
tobacco fann in Bladen County, North Carolina. His Depression- era 
boyhood in the Cape Fear region, spent at auctions and at his father's 
general store, provided him with a lifetime of material for his fiction and 
poetry. While teaching at Stetson University in Florida, he published his 
first poetry collection, and founded Impetus, the literary magazine which 
would evolve into the Southern Poetry Review. As a novelist, he is 
probably best known for The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man, the comic 
adventures of an aging confidence man and his young AWOL sidekick in 
a thinly fictionalized Bladen County. The book was made into a film, 
and was followed by two sequels. A 1970 novel, ]oumey forjoedel, was 
nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. For many years, Owen taught at North 
Carolina State University, while continuing to publish stories and poems 
in periodicals and collections. Throughout his career, Owen worked 
hard to promote and improve the poetry of others, co-editing several 
anthologies, lecturing and conducting workshops, and bringing together 
writers and lovers of poetry. 

The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man 

Macmillan, 1965 

It was a strange road I'd never drove on before, leastwise not in the dark 
with my lights out. Even so, I'd of got away slick as a whistle — if it hadn't been 
for running up on the railroad again. 

You see, I sort of misjudged how steep the track bed was, since I had my 
lights off and was driving by prayer and moonlight. It could happen to anybody, 
but I'll admit it was a right serious mistake on my part. Because when I climbed 
that steep railroad bed and hit the tracks I was doing about eighty miles an hour. 

That was when the old truck took a notion to sort of fly. And it did. All of a 
sudden it went airborne. Which wouldn't of been so serious in itself, only I 
needed to turn. I needed to turn that very second. Come to find out there was 
this sharp curve on the other side of the tracks — and that ain't all. Setting right 
close to the road, there was this little bitty white house that was lit up like a 
Christmas tree. 

I didn't just run into that house. I mortally /lew into it. Couldn't help myself 
What's more, it turned out not to be just a house. 

Right before I landed, I switched on the lights and set down on the horn, to 
kind of warn them I was coming, dropping in, you might say. It was the least I 
could do. Time my lights was on, I saw the house was a church. I reckon they 
was Seventh Day Adventists, or some such. It felt like I was falling in a dream, 
with my stomach like it feels when an elevator starts down quick-like. 

I glimpsed this handful of folks in the pews jerk their heads around, gaping. 
The preacher was pointing his finger toward heaven when I plowed into them, a 
good mile a minute. I felt right sorry about fouling up his sermon, but it couldn't 
be helped. 

Great God from Zion! That's when all hell come loose at the seams. You'd of 
thought an atomic bomb had exploded, a big one loaded with com whisky. I 
declare, my load of rotgut purely baptized the poor little church. 

Split'Rail Fence 

The way a split-rail fence has failed 

To hold this beauty back, old rails 

Too tired, too gnarled and weather-maimed, 

Itself too random to contain 

Wild blooms that spill between and over 

(Queen Anne's lace, blue grass, and clover) 

To somersault down the mountain slope 

Like water from the mountain spring, 

Has stirred in me some secret hope 

Nor born of the buoyant spring. 

Has cheered me over a road accurst 

And slaked a deeper thirst. 

1916 ' 1980 

"The last great poet of small town America," Thad Stem lived all his life 
in the house where he was bom in Oxford, North Carolina. He began 
writing poetry in 1943 or 1944, writing sporadically until his 1947 
marriage to Marguerite "Dety" Laughridge Anderson, a widow with a 
young son. At this point he began producing as much as 15,000 words a 
week: newspaper articles, essays, poems, and short fiction. Over three 
decades he published sixteen books, including collections o{ poetry, 
essays, short stories, and North Carolina history. He also sold roughly 
8,000 pieces to State newspapers, and wrote a weekly column that 
eventually became a daily editorial. In his last two years, despite illness, 
he continued to write, and was working on a history of Johnston County 
at the time of his death. The consistent excellence of his art was rooted 
in his love for Oxford. He wrote lyrically of quiet streets and summer 
nights, and movingly but without sentimentality o{ the people he knew. 
He said, "All my life I've believed that the chief importance of learning is 
that ultimately one is naked save for it." 

News from Home 
from Picture Poems 
Athenaeum, 1948 

When I'm an angel, I'll covet news from North Carolina 
As wildly as an old soldier asking after some comrade 
Who didn't make the regimental union this time. 
But I'll be as exquisitely subtle as a faded man 
Patiently sifting years of trite home -town history 
For some small word of an old sweetheart long married. 

When each boat docks, I'll stand on the fringe 

Of relatives kissing, shaking hands, and being garrulous 

As folks spreading lunch at a country church meeting. 

When I've heard how the school house has new paint, 

That Castleberry won for Congress by two to one, 

I'll ask, as if I were the late landlord, 

How the elms on Settle's Lane stood the winter? 

If the brook yet hums at night like a spinning top? 

1908 ' 1988 

Richard Walser, North Carolina's foremost chronicler of the state's 
literary history, was bom in Lexington of Wachovia Moravian descent. 
After a year at Davidson College, Walser transferred to the University of 
North Carolina, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. 
An apocryphal story relates that at one time Richard Walser looked into 
doing doctoral work at Chapel Hill in North Carolina literature, and was 
told quite firmly that was not an acceptable subject. He went on to 
advance research and understanding of his native State's culture, 
publishing and editing more than thirty books and pamphlets, including 
biographical studies, anthologies of North Carolina short fiction, humor, 
legends, and poetry; and Literary North Carolina, an indispensable history 
of the State's writers and writing. Walser taught English in high school, 
and briefly at Chapel Hill, but spent most of his career on the faculty at 
North Carolina State University. A popular speaker, he lectured often at 
educational institutions, as well as at civic clubs and patriotic 
organizations. He served with numerous organizations that contributed 
to the improvement of life in North Carolina. 


from Literary North Carolina 
North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1986 

Like humor, folklore is so deeply woven into a regional literature that it is 
not easy to separate it from other genres, to be able to say, "This is folklore, but 
that is a short stor>'." Writers of imaginative literature base their work on the 
customs and beliefs of those whom they have known, on the manners and ways 
of communities where they have lived. Lore of the folk enriches the great works 
of Shakespeare, of Hawthorne and Melville, of Thomas Wolfe and Paul Green. 

What is folklore.^ Arthur Palmer Hudson defines it as "that complex of 
knowledge which has been created by the spontaneous play of naive 
imaginations upon common human experience, transmitted by word o( mouth 
or action, and preserved without dependence upon written or printed record." 
Folklore comprises myths, sayings, songs, charms, anecdotes, traditions, magic, 
and so on. It deals with snakes, ghosts, pirates, bears, hunters, witches, and even 
baseball players. 

North Carolina is a particularly fertile region for the creation, flowering, and 
preservation of folklore. First of all, the state was and is geographically congenial 
to folklore in that, until the coming of paved roads and wireless 
communications, the coastal and mountain areas of the state were relatively 
isolated. Especially does folklore flourish wherever intrusions from the outside 
world are minimal. Then, too, while there is a folklore of the towns and cities, 
North Carolina's stable and predominantly rural population retamed its mores 
long after they were abandoned by those people who shifted from place to place. 

While these conditions may apply somewhat to other regions. North 
Carolina's importance in folklore was firmly established by the publication of the 
seven-volume Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore (1^52- 1964), 
a vast and handsome repository unrivaled in any of the other forty-nme states. 
In it are recorded, in scholarly fashion. North Carolina games and rhymes, 
beliefs and customs, riddles, proverbs, speech, tales and legends, and popular 
superstitions. Four of the volumes provide the words and music for such notable 
folk ballads and folk songs as "Naomi Wise," "Frankie Silver," "Tom Dula," and 
"Nellie Cropsey." 

1903 ' 1986 

A versatile, award-winning writer in many genres, Manly Wade Wellman 
was bom in Angola, West Africa, the son oi a medical officer. He moved 
to North Carolina in 1947. Wellman once announced, "Today is my 
eightieth birthday, and I've written eighty books. That's pretty good, 
don't you think?" He wrote thirty-five adventure novels for boys, many 
set in North Carolina. His juvenile and adult writings are a mix of 
history, biography, folklore, fantasy, mysteries, and true murders, 
successfully blending his varied interests to create a genre now referred to 
as speculative fiction. His fascination with Appalachian history and 
folklore form the basis for his Silver John series, in which a virtuous folk 
hero battles supernatural forces of evil. Wellman's numerous works also 
include a Martian murder mystery, tales of loathsome alien invaders, and 
a story o{ time travel. For many years North Carolina's preeminent writer 
of speculative fiction, Wellman generously extended aid to emerging 
writers, teaching classes and guiding many o{ his students to fruitful 
careers. Literary historian Richard Walser predicted that Manly Wade 
Wellman's Who Fears the Devil? will be one of the five North Carolina 
books still read a century from now. 

Sin's Doorway 

published in Weird Tales, January 1946 

In those days and in that part of the South I tried to keep out of 
county seats and other towns of any size. Sheriffs and town marshals 
had a way of rounding up tattered strangers and putting them on chain 
gangs. That spring I followed a trail, not much more than a footway, 
between two hills where the live-oaks and the long-leaf pine shoulder 
themselves into thickets. There would be clearings in the hollows 
beyond, and a cabin or two of simple people. They'd recognize me, I 
hoped, for someone sad and hungry. I'd be invited to eat corn bread — 
fried bacon too, if I was lucky, or a stew of squirrel or rabbit. I had not 
eaten since the morning before, nor very heartily then. Feeling faint, I 
knelt to drink from a little pencil-wide stream. When I rose, my legs 
were not so shaky. 

Then as I tramped downhill between the path's scrub-grown 
borders, I heard voices singing an old hymn. Around the bend I walked, 
and came almost among the people. 

There were twenty or twenty-five of them, overalled men, and 
women in homespun dresses and calico sunbonnets, and some shock- 
headed children. They stood bunched in front of a shabby little 
clapboard church — I knew it was a church by the tacked-on steeple 
that housed no bell. Next the church was a grassy burying-ground, with 
ant-eaten wooden headboards, fenced by stakes and rails. Nobody stood 
inside the fence. They all faced toward a home-made coffin of whip- 
sawed pine, rough and unpainted. 

I hate funerals. I go to as few as I can manage. But I paused to 
watch this one. Nobody looked sorry or glad, only intent. Beside the 
coffin stood a tall mountainy man in worn black, with a grizzled chin- 
tutt that lengthened his hawk-like face. Perhaps Abe Lincoln would 
have looked like that, if Wilkes Booth had spared him for twenty more 
years. That was the preacher, I decided, for as the singing died he began 
to talk. As my eyes turned toward him, I saw two figures squatting on 
the ground beyond him and the coffin. For a moment I took these to be 
old carven images, like figureheads from ancient sailing vessels. They 
looked weathered and colorless, face, hair and clothing. One was a 
bewhiskered male, the other a wrinkled old female. Neither moved, not 
even their eyes blinked. But their backs were tense, as though slighting 
the church. I know Southern folklore, and remembered a bit; witches, 
the servants of devils, always turn their backs to the house of God. 

"It was the will and prayer of Levi Brett, our departed.. .brother...." 
The preacher stumbled over the word as if he had disliked to speak it. 
"His will," he went on, "that we call at his burial for someone to eat his 

I pricked up my ears at that. 


1900 - 1938 

North Carolina's most famous writer, Thomas Wolfe grew up in 
Asheville, son of a stonecutter and a boarding house owner. As a student 
at Chapel Hill, he edited the college newspaper, and had several of his 
plays produced by the Carolina Playmakers. Planning to be a dramatist, 
he went to Harvard, then to New York, where he had no success, so he 
took a job teaching at New York University. During a 1926 trip to 
Europe, he began writing down his early memories of Asheville. After 
three years of writing, revision and editing, he published Look Homeward, 
Angel; A Story of the Buried Life, considered one of the great coming of 
age novels in the English language. It was followed six years later by Of 
Time and the River. He divided the next three years between writing and 
travelling. In 1938 he was taken ill during a trip to the West Coast, and 
he died in Baltimore. Scribners produced two novels from the huge 
manuscript Wolfe had left behind. At his death, Thomas Wolfe was 
considered the greatest talent North Carolina had given to American 
literature. His novels and collected short stories, with their intense 
poetic language and rich symbology, go beyond autobiography, trying to, 
in William Faulkner's words, "put all the experience of the human heart 
on the head of a pin." 

The Death of Gant 

from Of Time and the River 
C. Scribner's Sons, 1963 

"What's the matter, Mr. Gant? There's nothing hurtin you?" 

"No," he said. "Just something in my throat. Could I have some 

"Why, yes, sir! That's the very thing!" She got up hastily, and 
looking about in a somewhat confused manner, saw behind her a 
pitcher of water and a glass upon his old walnut bureau, and saying 
"This very minute, sir!" started across the room. 

And at the same moment, Gant was aware that some one had 
entered the house, was coming towards him through the hall, would 
soon be with him. Turning his head towards the door he was conscious 
of something approaching with the speed of light, the instancy of 
thought, and at that moment he was filled with a sense of inexpressible 
joy, a feeling of triumph and security he had never known. Something 
immensely bright and beautiful was converging in a flare of light, and at 
that instant, the whole room blurred around him, his sight was fixed 
upon that focal image in the door, and suddenly the child was standing 
there and looking towards him. 

And even as he started from his pillows, and tried to call his wife he 
felt something thick and heavy in his throat that would not let him 
speak. He tried to call to her again but no sound came, then something 
wet and warm began to flow out of his mouth and nostrils, he lifted his 
hands up to his throat, the warm wet blood came pouring out across his 
fingers; he saw it and felt joy. 

For now the child — or some one in the house was speaking, calling 
to him; he heard great footsteps, soft but thunderous, imminent, yet 
immensely far, a voice well-known, never heard before. He called to it, 
and then it seemed to answer him; he called to it with faith and joy to 
give him rescue, strength, and life, and it answered him and told him 
that all the error, old age, pain and grief of life was nothing but an evil 
dream; that he who had been lost was found again, that his youth 
would be restored to him and that he would never die, and that he 
would find again the path he had not taken long ago in a dark wood 

And the child still smiled at him from the dark door; the great 
steps, soft and powerful, came even closer, and as the instant imminent 
approach of that last meeting came intolerably near, he cried out 
through the lake of jetting blood, "Here, Father, here!" and heard a 
strong voice answer him, "My son!" 


Presenting: Shelby Stephenson is author of five books of poetry: Middle Creek 
Poems, Carolina Shout!, The Persimmon Tree Carol, Finch's Mash, Plankhouse (with 
photographs by Roger Manley), and Coastal Plain. He is professor of English at 
Pembroke State University where he has been editor of Pembro/ce Maga?:ine since 
1979. Stephenson has received numerous literary awards and performs music 
(vocal and guitar) regularly throughout the state. 

Accepting: James Boyd, Jr. was bom in 1921 and spent his first years in the gate 
house at Weymouth while the big house was being renovated. He began school 
in a schoolhouse on the property, and at age ten was sent away to prep school in 
New York. His father singled him out to be a writer and would correct and 
return all of his letters home. Jim, Jr., the first Boyd not to attend Princeton, 
went with his friends to UNC, where he roomed with the editor of the Daily Tar 
Heel. He served in the Coast Guard in the Pacific during the war, and worked at 
the Baltimore Sun before returning home to manage the farm at Weymouth and 
oversee, along with his sister, Nancy, the transfer of the estate to the State and 
the Town of Southern Pines. He now resides in East Hampton, New York. 


Presenting: Dorothy Spruill Redford, genealogist and historian, is the author of 
Somerset's Slave Community: An Antebellum Genealogical Study and Somerset 
Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage. She is a former social worker and 
currently manager of the Somerset Place Plantation State Historic Site in 
Creswell, N.C. Redford continues to write, lectures extensively and is a visiting 
lecturer at Elizabeth City State University. 

Accepting: "Willis McLeod, a graduate of Fayetteville State University, returned 
to his alma mater to become chancellor November 15, 1995. He brings 30 years 
of experience in the field of education. His bachelor's, master's and doctorate 
degrees are in mathematics and school administration. A native of Dunn, 
McLeod has received numerous awards including Virginia Educator of the Year, 
Administrator of the Year, Rockefeller Foundation Fellow and Distinguished 
Alumni Award. He is a subscribing Life Member of the NAACP 


Presenting: Roy Parker, Jr. is contributing editor of the Fayetteville Observer' 
Times. A former president of the N.C. Literary and Historical Association and 
the N.C. Art Society, he currently serves as president of the Arts Advocates 
Foundation. Parker is author of Cumberland County: A Brief History and 
recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from UNC-Chapel Hill and has 
written a book column for his newspaper for over 20 years. 

Accepting: Elizabeth Daniels Squire, an ex-reporter, is the oldest daughter of 
Jonathan Daniels and grew up "in and out" of the News & Observer in Raleigh 
back when that newspaper was a comparatively small family enterprise. Her 
highly-acclaimed mysteries about an absent-minded sleuth are: Memory Can Be 
Murder, Remember the Alibi and Who Killed What's-Her-Name? Whose Death Is It, 
Anyway? is due out this fall. She has just won, from Malice Domestic, the 
Agatha Award for best traditional mystery short story of 1995. 


Presenting: Keats Sparrow, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at East 
Carolina University, received his undergraduate and master's degrees from ECU 
and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Kentucky. His seven books 
include An Anthology of North Carolina Literature from the Colonial Period to 1945 
which is due to be published by the N.C. Division of Archives and History in 
1997. Sparrow is editor-in-chief of Victorians Institute Journal and author of 
scholarly articles and reviews that appear widely. Noted for his teaching 
excellence. Sparrow is a frequent lecturer and consultant and serves on many 

Accepting; Inglis Fletcher Baum is the great-granddaughter of Inglis Fletcher. 
She spent her childhood in Chapel Hill and her adolescent years in Nags Head. 
Baum returned to Chapel Hill to attend UNC to study industrial relations and 
graduated in 1990. After a short time in Wilmington she returned again to the 
Triangle to live in Raleigh and work in the family business, Baum Jewelers, 
where she has designed and crafted jewelry. She is currently working toward a 
national certificate in gemology. 


Presenting: John Ehle is one of North Carolina's finest and most prolific writers 
as author of 1 1 novels and six books of nonfiction which include: Trail of Tears: 
The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation and Dr. Frank: Life with Frank Porter 
Graham. He was a founder of the North Carolina: School of the Arts, 
Governor's School and School of Science and Mathematics. Ehle is recipient of 
numerous honorary doctorates and awards including the North Carolina Award 
for Literature, the Lillian Smith Prize and the Distinguished Alumnus Award 
from UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Accepting: Byrd Green Comwell, the second of four children of Paul Green, 
was raised in Chapel Hill, earned her bachelor's in English from UNC and 
received her master's in early childhood from the University of Michigan. For 
the past 24 years she has worked in the field of mental health and 
developmental disabilities as a clinical specialist. Comwell lives on a mountain 
near Valdese, N.C, likes to read, travel, garden, sew and sing, and is the proud 
mother of five daughters and 12 grandchildren including two-year-old triplets! 


Presenting: Emily Herring Wilson, whose publications include poetry, fiction 
and nonfiction, is a native of Georgia. She has taught at Wake Forest University 
and Salem College. With an NEH research grant, Wilson wrote Hope and 
Dignity: Older Black Women of the South, and is co-authoring the first history of 
N.C. women. She has been a visiting writer at Cornell University, an N.C. Arts 
Council sponsored visiting writer and a MacDowell Fellow. 

Accepting: Alice Kelley Burrows, a niece of Bemice Kelly Harris, received her 
bachelors from Meredith and her masters from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is a 
former teacher and educational consultant and currently the director of Project 
Enlightenment, a mental health program for young children and their families. 
Burrows tells the story about how her father "went off to Wake Forest College 
and added an extra 'e' to his name" and she tells how her "Aunt Bemice" (with 
the family accent on the first syllable) , was such an extremely important and 
influential person in her life. 


Presenting: Sally Buckner, author o(Our Words, Our Ways: Reading and Writing in 
North Carolirm, a textbook for eighth-grade students, is Alumnae Distinguished 
Professor of English at Peace College, adjunct assistant professor of curriculum and 
instruction at NCSU and for 13 years, the co-director of the Capital Area Writing 
Project at NCSU. Her poetry, fiction, plays, articles and essays appear in periodicals 
nationwide and she is author of Strawberry Harvest, a collection of poems. 

Accepting: Roberta Porter Hon, bom in Greensboro in 1906, was married for 62 
years from the age of 20. She studied languages at Greensboro College and 
worked as a secretary in the UNC -Charlotte English department while LeGette 
Blythe was writer- in-residence. At the age of 17, she began collecting books and 
memorabilia about her famous cousin, William Sydney Porter, and recently gave 
a "stack about a foot high" to the Greensboro Historical Museum. Hon retired 
to Southport, where, from the age of two she travelled with her family for 
vacations, first by train and then by ferry. She lives one block from the river. 


Presenting: Jaki Shelton Green is author of Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and 
New Poems and Mask. Her works have appeared in numerous national 
publications and her play. Blue Opal, was produced in 1994 by the Perihelion 
Theatre Company. She has given readings throughout the United States and 
abroad and regularly leads workshops and classes in poetry. Green serves on 
many arts boards and is the recipient of state and national awards for her work. 

Accepting: Robert Anthony, curator of the North Carohna Collection, UNC- 
Chapel Hill, is a native of Halifax County. He received his bachelor's in history 
from Wake Forest University and his master's in library science from UNC- 
Chapel Hill. He has produced many articles, bibliographies and reviews; and 
presented lectures and papers to library, literary and historical associations. 
Anthony is author of The Library of David Stone (1770'1818): The Non-Law 


Presenting: Fred Chappell is recipient of many prestigious awards including a 
Rockefeller Grant, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the N.C. Award 
for Literature, the BoUingen Prize in Poetry and the TS. Eliot Prize. He is a 
chaired professor at UNC-Greensboro and author of eight books of fiction, 1 1 
books of poetry and two collections, Plot*; Naked: Selected Writings on Poetry and 
The Fred Chappell Reader. 

Accepting: Mary von Schrader Jarrell selected, edited and annotated Randall 
Jarrell's Letters, and her collected essays. Remembering Randall will be published 
by HarperCollins. She and her mini- dachshund live in Greensboro. She says 
"The joys of my life are Randall, still; and my faith and my family. My favorite 
living poet — and equal joy — is Fred Chappell." 


Presenting: Bynum Shaw was bom in Alamance County in 1923 and received 
most of his early education in Wilmington. After graduating from Wake Forest 
College, he was a journalist for 17 years in Norfolk, Baltimore, Washington and 
Europe. In 1965 he became professor of journalism at Wake Forest University. 
He is author of five novels and three nonfiction works. His 1969 novel, The 
Nazi Hunter, received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award. 

Accepting: Jim Jenkins, a cousin of Gerald Johnson and a great-great nephew of 
John Charles NcNeill, North Carolina's early 20th Century poet laureate, is an 
editorial writer and columnist for the News & Observer. A veteran of 20 years in 
the newspaper business, he previously was a columnist for the Greensboro Daily 
News and an editor of the Fayetteville Observer. His work has been published in 
national magazines and newspapers, and he has won eight awards from the N.C. 
Press Association in several categories. Jenkins graduated from UNC-Chapel 
Hill with a degree in history and English. 


Presenting: Gerald Barrax is professor of English and poet-in-residence at N.C. 
State University, editor o( Obsidian: Black Literature in Review since 1986, 
advisory editor for The h^orton Anthology of Afro -American Literature (Henry 
Louis Gates, Jr. editor), and was associate editor ofCallaloo: A Journal of Afro- 
American and African Arts and Letters. He is author of five books of poetry, most 
recently. Leaning Against the Sun; selections in 13 anthologies and publication in 
many little magazines. 

Accepting: Dorothy Jennings Owen, while working as music department 
secretary at Davidson College, met graduate instructor Guy Owen and they 
married three years later. After a teaching position in Florida, they returned to 
N.C. where Guy joined the faculty at N.C. State University in 1962. Dorothy, 
devoted to selling and teaching about N.C. crafts, bought and developed the 
Etc. Craft Gallery. In 1973 she returned to her native North Wilkesboro where 
she is active in community arts and humanities projects. 


Presenting: Charles Blackburn, a writer and editor for Sigma Xi, one of the 
nation's oldest and largest scientific societies, headquartered in RTR grew up in 
Henderson, N.C. and lives in Raleigh. Thad Stem, Jr. was his mentor and friend. 
Blackburn has been a newspaperman and rare bookseller; his articles, poems 
and short stories have appeared in many publications and he has won several 
fiction awards. He recently worked with N.C. Poet Laureate Sam Ragan to 
compile an anthology of short verse selected from his long-running literary 
column "Southern Accent." 

Accepting: Dety Stem (Marguerite Laughridge Stem) was raised in Marion, 
N.C, lived in Oxford after she married Thad in 1947 then moved on to Raleigh 
in 1982 to be near her children. She's taught English, mathematics, history, 
biology and art; worked as an engineer and a social worker; she paints, has 
recently written a novel and serves as a docent at the N.C. Museum of Art and 
the Executive Mansion. 


Presenting: James W. Clark is professor of English and director of the 
Humanities Extension/Publications Program at N.C. State University. A native 
of Warren County, he holds degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke 
University. Clark, a former president of the Thomas Wolfe Society, found, 
restored and served as editor of a new issue of The Lost Boy by Thomas Wolfe 
published by UNC Press. 

Accepting: George Poland was head of the language department at N.C. State 
University. He received his bachelor's from William and Mary, his master's from 
Brown and his Ph.D. at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before the outbreak of WWII, 
Poland was civil attache to the Madrid Embassy and during the war, served in 
naval intelligence. He met Walser in 1948 and they were housemates for the 
next 41 years. They travelled all over Europe, loved opera and knew most of the 
people who are being inducted; they visited Inglis Fletcher on her plantation. 


Presenting: Stephen E. Smith is editor of the Sandhills Review and director of 
creative writing at Sandhills Community College. Smith's books of poems are: 
Most of What We Take is Given, Loose Talk, The Complete Bushnell Hamp Poems, 
The Bushnell Hamp Poems; and fiction: The Great Saturday Night Swindle and 
The Honeysuckle Shower and Other Parables. Smith, also a song writer, is a 
recipient of the Poetry Northwest Young Poet's Prize, a N.C. Arts Council 
fellowship and the N.C. Poetry Society Zoe Kincaid Brockman Award. 

Accepting: Frances Wellman met Manly, a court reporter for the Wichita Beacon, 
when she was a sophomore at Wichita University. They married the next year 
and moved to New York, New Jersey, Southern Pines and finally to Chapel Hill 
in 1951 where she worked in the UNC School of Public Health. Wellman, 
under the pen name of Frances Garfield, has been writing fantasy stories for 
Weird Tales since the 40s which are published in the U.S., England and 


Presenting: H.G. Jones is the Thomas W. Davis Research Historian in the N.C. 
Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has served as N.C. State Archivist, director 
of the N.C. Department of Archives and History, curator of the N.C. Collection 
and adjunct professor of history. His books include North Carolina Illustrated, 
1524-1984 and North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Jones wrote a 
weekly article, "In Light of History," which, when he gave it up in 1986, was the 
longest running syndicated state historical column in the country. For 25 years 
he has travelled to the Arctic as a scholar and collector of Inuit art. 

Accepting: John Idol, a mountain-bred scholar from Deep Gap, served as 
president of the Thomas Wolfe Society and a consulting editor for The Thomas 
Wolfe Review, of which he is now an associate editor; he is author of many notes 
and articles about Wolfe. Idol has also written extensively about Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, has been president of the Society and editor of the Review. He was 
named Alumni Distinguished Professor of English at Clemson University before 
his recent retirement. He is president of The Society for the Study of Southern